Happy New Year! No, I didn’t accidentally submit my article for the January newsletter a month early. I am wishing you a happy new liturgical year. For those unfamiliar, the liturgical year is the annual cycle which divides the church year into seasons such as Lent, Easter, and Pentecost, and if you have ever wondered why the paraments on the pulpits and altar seem to change color every so often it is because each season has a different color associated with it.

The liturgical year begins with the season of Advent, the four Sundays before Christmas. The word Advent comes from the Latin word adventus which means “coming” or “arrival.” It is a time for us to prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, our savior.

We are still in a period of transition here at Park View as we continue our search for a new minister. As we all know, major periods of transition like this can be stressful, so I would say we need this Advent season and what it represents more than ever. As we light the candles each week, let us use it to center us and focus us on what is truly important, the word which became flesh, the arrival of our lord and savior, Jesus Christ.

The first week (December 2nd) we will light the Prophets’ Candle, and we reflect on and remember the hope of a new world and new life through Jesus which was promised to the prophets of the Old Testament. Such as in Isiah 9: 2, 6-7.

2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined…6 For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

The second week (December 9th) we will light the Bethlehem Candle, and we prepare our minds and our hearts to receive Jesus, and keep the faith for his arrival as described in Luke 3:4-6.

4 as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 5 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; 6 and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”

The third week (December 16th) we will light the Shepherds’ Candle and remember the message of joy which the shepherds received about the birth of Jesus as told in Luke 2:8-14.

8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

The fourth week (December 23rd) we will light the Angel’s Candle and remember the love that God showed us by sending us his son to be our savior as described in John 3:16-17.

16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. 17 “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

This is the start of a new liturgical year for our church with so much potential. Prepare your hearts with hope, faith, joy, and love as we eagerly look forward to the celebration of the birth our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Jason Chuma, Worship Chair